David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Bioethics 23 (4):249-258 (2009)
In this article we distinguish between philosophical bioethics (PB), descriptive policy orientated bioethics (DPOB) and normative policy oriented bioethics (NPOB). We argue that finding an appropriate methodology for combining empirical data and moral theory depends on what the aims of the research endeavour are, and that, for the most part, this combination is only required for NPOB. After briefly discussing the debate around the is/ought problem, and suggesting that both sides of this debate are misunderstanding one another (i.e. one side treats it as a conceptual problem, whilst the other treats it as an empirical claim), we outline and defend a methodological approach to NPOB based on work we have carried out on a project exploring the normative foundations of paternal rights and responsibilities. We suggest that given the prominent role already played by moral intuition in moral theory, one appropriate way to integrate empirical data and philosophical bioethics is to utilize empirically gathered lay intuition as the foundation for ethical reasoning in NPOB. The method we propose involves a modification of a long-established tradition on non-intervention in qualitative data gathering, combined with a form of reflective equilibrium where the demands of theory and data are given equal weight and a pragmatic compromise reached.
|Keywords||empirical bioethics reflective equilibrium Is/ought problem integrated ethics focus groups normative policy orientated bioethics methodology|
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Citations of this work BETA
Michael Dunn & Jonathan Ives (2009). Methodology, Epistemology, and Empirical Bioethics Research: A Constructive/Ist Commentary. American Journal of Bioethics 9 (6):93-95.
Vicki Marsh, Francis Kombe, Raymond Fitzpatrick, Thomas N. Williams, Michael Parker & Sassy Molyneux (2013). Consulting Communities on Feedback of Genetic Findings in International Health Research: Sharing Sickle Cell Disease and Carrier Information in Coastal Kenya. [REVIEW] BMC Medical Ethics 14 (1):41.
Michael Dunn, Mark Sheehan, Tony Hope & Michael Parker (2012). Toward Methodological Innovation in Empirical Ethics Research. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (04):466-480.
Martyn D. Pickersgill (2013). From 'Implications' to 'Dimensions': Science, Medicine and Ethics in Society. [REVIEW] Health Care Analysis 21 (1):31-42.
H. Draper, T. Sorell, J. Ives, S. Damery, S. Greenfield, J. Parry, J. Petts & S. Wilson (2010). Non-Professional Healthcare Workers and Ethical Obligations to Work During Pandemic Influenza. Public Health Ethics 3 (1):23-34.
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